TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran said Wednesday that it would reciprocate after the European Union added two Iranian individuals and an Iranian intelligence unit to the bloc's terrorist list.
EU ministers agreed Tuesday to add the names to the list and freeze their assets, effective from Wednesday, as the Netherlands accused Iran of two killings on its soil and joined France and Denmark in alleging Tehran plotted other attacks in Europe.
The move although in part symbolic since one of the men is in prison in Belgium, marked the first time the EU has enacted sanctions on Iran since lifting a host of curbs on it three years ago following its 2015 nuclear pact with world powers.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi called the EU's actions "illogical" and "surprising".
"Iran will adopt the necessary measures in response to this move and within the framework of reciprocation," Qasemi said in a statement published on the ministry's official website.
Iran has denied any involvement in the alleged plots, saying the accusations were intended to damage EU-Iran relations.
"These listings have been adopted by the Council as part of its response to recent foiled attacks on the European soil," the European Council claimed in a statement Wednesday.
Qasemi, in his statement, hit out at the EU for supporting "terrorist groups" such as the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), a group that has a dark history of terrorist bombings and assassinations in which more than 12,000 Iranians have been martyred and aiding the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"Instead of blacklisting such terrorist and criminal groups as the Monafeqin (MKO) and Al-Ahwaziya, the European Union has allowed them freedom to carry out their inhuman and terrorist activities and even provides them protection, while it levels accusations against Iran, which is the flag-bearer in the fight against terror in the region and to which Europe owes its security,” Qasemi said.
Al-Ahwaziya was behind a terrorist attack in Iran’s Ahwaz last September, during which more than two dozen Iranians were killed after gunmen opened fire at spectators and participants during a military parade.
The EU’s sanctions are additionally frustrating because the bloc has so far defaulted on two deadlines which it had pledged to implement a special purpose vehicle aimed at bypassing U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The U.S. and the occupying regime of Israel were quick to welcome the anti-Iran sanctions.
"The U.S. strongly supports the new sanctions and stands with our European allies as we counter this common threat,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted.
"This is an important first step by the EU, combating Iranian aggression,” a statement by the Zionist foreign ministry said.
Iran is a victim of terrorism and atrocities perpetrated by Western-backed groups, notably the MKO whose members roam freely in Europe and the United States.
Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the sanctions would "not absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists.”
"Europeans, including Denmark, Holland and France, harbor MEK—who killed 12000 Iranians and abetted Saddam's crimes against Iraqi Kurds—as well as other terrorists staging murder of innocent Iranians from Europe. Accusing Iran won't absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists,” he wrote.